1638 Pannier 500w

No. 1638 - 21 April 2012


No. 1638

This type had its origins in the GWR's 1897-1905 built 2021 class and shared a number of leading dimensions with the earlier locomotives. Although of pure Great Western ancestry and designed by F. W. Hawksworth, the 70 locomotives of class 16XX were built by British Railways between October 1949 and May 1955.

The class was constructed to a restricted loading gauge for use on routes with low overbridges and had a modest axle loading of 13 tons 18 cwt. Many were based in South Wales and there was an allocation of 10 to Lydney in the Forest of Dean. Others worked in Cornwall in one direction and as far afield as Scotland in the other. Workings in South Wales included duties on the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway (BPGV), a line which Colonel Stephens had reconstructed as a light railway.

Built at Swindon, No. 1638 was first allocated to Llanelly in March 1951 ( for service on  the BPGV) and was withdrawn from service at Croes Newydd in August 1966. It was purchased for preservation for £1300 and arrived at the Dart Valley Railway on 25 November 1967. The locomotive was acquired for the K&ESR in 1992 and arrived on 1 July 1992; it is now owned by the Railway. It has proved a useful addition to the fleet and, despite its smaller dimensions, appears to be the equal of the Austerities. The K&ESR fleet number has never been carried although when playing the part of Duck on ‘Thomas' weekends the number 8 is displayed. As part of 1638's ‘Thomas' persona a Swindon green livery and GWR lettering have been applied.

When 1638 returned to service after an overhall in early 2016 it was painted in a BR black livery.


Class: 16XX
Weight: 41 tons 12 cwt
Tractive effort: 18,515 lbs
Cylinders (2) 161/2 in. dia x 24 in. stoke
Boiler Pressure 165 lbs
Coal capacity: 21/2 tons
Wheels: 4 ft. 11/2 in diameter